Archive for the ‘Firearms and Hunting’ Category

Reduce the highway carnage – hunt deer

Monday, April 7th, 2008

A few days ago the StarPhoenix had an opinion piece complaining about the deer carcasses littering the ditches along the highway south of Saskatoon …

… the carcasses likely are deer struck by vehicles this winter and then covered by snow. It’s the job of Highways crews to clear them away as soon as possible, he says, but along with the spring thaw that exposes the high-speed carnage comes higher priorities such as clearing culverts for the runoff and filling potholes to keep the roadways safe.

Although I certainly understand the department’s priorities, it’s the case in Saskatchewan that thousands of deer are struck and killed by vehicles every year, especially during the peak rut around snowy late November. That means there are thousands of rotting carcasses now coming to light across this province, with no one to remove them.

And with the government promising money to keep those Highways crews at their busiest ever, I wonder if the well-fed crows and piles of bones will become a permanent fixture in our newly “have” province. The “Old West” look of it holds no appeal to me. It’s a lousy visual and not much of a tourism draw. Surely we can afford to contract some people to remove these dead animals regularly instead of leaving it to pothole fillers and culvert cleaners to do when they have some down time.

What strikes me as odd is that there is no mention of the root of the problem, namely the fact that the number of hunters in Saskatchewan is at an all-time low, coinciding with an extremely high deer population after several mild winters.

If more people hunted, there wouldn’t be as many unsightly carcasses littering the ditches, there would be less damage to people’s cars, and people would be eating more lean venison and less fatty beef.

Of course suggesting that more tax dollars be spent contracting people to pick up the carcasses is a much easier sell.

A sign of spring

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

It must be March because the newspapers have started the annual rite of running pictures of celebrities cuddling up to newborn seal pups.

Actress with seal pup

I don’t question actress Alison Steadman’s sincerity, but I do question the tactics of the animal-rights activists and media who knowingly mislead the public every year. Surely they must be aware of the fact that Canada has not allowed the harvest of white-coat seals in more than 20 years.

The fact is that by the time the seals have moulted, and can be legally harvested, they just don’t have the same media appeal. However the image of an attractive actress with a cute white-coated seal pup trumps scientific fact about this sustainable harvest.

Manitoba fox hunt

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

I received this email recently …

Should this sport be stopped in Manitoba before it gets out of hand?

Manitoba Fox Hunt

(source unknown)

I understand that the fox hunt has been banned in the United Kingdom, so I don’t understand why Manitoba can’t ban it.

As far as I know, it isn’t an issue in Saskatchewan. Perhaps because our foxes don’t have opposable thumbs.

Nothing but does and fawns

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

Michel and I spent part of today hunting at Shell Lake. We saw several does and fawns, a couple of ruffed grouse and snowshoe hares, and a coyote. However no bucks were spotted.

After devouring another of Sarah’s amazing meals, we started the trip home, only to come across Rachel who had hit a doe with her car. The car wasn’t damaged, but the deer needed to be dispatched. A real shame.

The Iverson Quarter has new owners

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Awhile back I discovered that three quarter-sections that we have been hunting on for decades were for sale. One of the quarters adjoins my brother Marv’’s land. Marv and Ray were moaning about the fact that it seems every year more local land gets sold to out-of-province buyers who promptly post it “No Hunting”, and they were afraid that these pieces of land might also soon be off-limits.

For a long time I have wanted to have a private woodlot of my own, and the quarter-section north of Marv’s place seemed a worthy candidate. However when I discovered the asking price of the land, I knew that footing the bill on my own would be a non-starter, so I placed a phone call to Glenn G, former pastor of the Mont Nebo Evangelical Free Church, very good friend of my brother, and a long-time hunting partner and friend. I knew that Glenn had expressed interest in buying it many years ago, so I asked him if he and Gloria would be interested in teaming up with Janet and myself in a joint purchase. It didn’t take long for them to say “go for it.”

After a few weeks of dealing with realtors, lawyers, bankers, etc., we can now say that we are the proud co-owners of 160 acres of our own.

Not everyone would be excited about owning “The Iverson Quarter”. It has broken the hearts of several farmers in the years since the first Norwegian immigrant homesteader first started clearing off the trees to discover marginal, rocky soil barely capable of growing a crop. A couple of small fields were abandoned about 20 years ago and are reverting to brush with aspen and the odd spruce tree. There is one field, 33 acres in size, that is still used for growing cereal crops. In fact this year’s crop (I believe it’s a variety of bearded wheat) was swathed but never combined. However most of the land is still treed, consisting mostly of mature trembling aspen, with a scattering of white spruce, and some pockets of willow and other shrubs.

Frankly it’s crappy farmland. However it’s nice deer habitat, and that’s what I’m mostly interested in.

We’ll probably rent out the field, and hope that the rental income at least pays the taxes. I think growing alfalfa would be a good idea, since the deer love it. Our only real plan for the near future is to do some trail construction, with the removed trees used as firewood. My inner silviculturist has some woodlot management plans, but they’ll need to be discussed with Glenn and Gloria. Dreams for the future might include a log cabin.

A couple of weekends ago both families spent a day at Shell Lake, including a walk around the property. Here’s a pic including most of us.

The estate

It’s hunting season, hence the high-visibility colours in this picture.

I told my kids that since we would soon be landowners, we needed to start behaving as the landed gentry, so I was bringing my tweeds, a walking stick and my pipe. Charlotte dryly replied that chewing tobacco would be more appropriate. So much for putting on airs.

Meat in the freezer

Friday, November 9th, 2007

My couple of days hunting last Friday and Saturday resulted in a filled antlerless deer tag. I still have my either-sex tag. I saw lots of does and fawns, and a couple of small bucks, but passed them up hoping to find that elusive monster buck.

I’m really more a meat hunter than a trophy hunter. I know guys who will hunt until the last minute of daylight on the last day of the season rather than shoot a doe. I on the other hand will probably hunt another day or two, and if I don’t find a decent buck, I’ll bring home more meat.

Anyway, I’ve cut up the doe, and we’ve had one meal of BBQ steaks, which were declared excellent, so at least the pressure is off.

Lean meat

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

“Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage”

Woody Allen

Whitetail deer season has arrived, and I’m off for a couple of days of hunting with my brothers, nephew and niece in the Shell Lake area. I have both an either-sex tag and an antlerless tag, so I’m hunting for both a tender doe and a trophy buck. Chances are I won’t get the monster buck, but the deer population is healthy so there shouldn’t be a problem bringing back some meat. We ran out of the 2006 wild game a couple of months ago and I’m getting tired of the flare-ups from BBQing beef from the store … even the lean beef is much more fatty than deer.

Be careful who/what you hunt with

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A hunter is recovering after he was shot in the leg at close range by his dog, who stepped on his shotgun and tripped the trigger, an official said Tuesday.James Harris, 37, of Tama, was hit in the calf Saturday, the opening day of pheasant season

… “He took between 100-120 pellets in about a 4-inch circle to his calf.”

… no citations have been issued.

Full Associated Press story here.

Pants are optional

Monday, September 24th, 2007

While leafing through the latest issue of Outdoor Edge magazine, this headline caught my eye…

Notice To All 2007 Big Game Hunters!


In response to resolutions from the Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation, the dress code regulations for the 2007 big game rifle season have been changed from requiring a complete outer suit of scarlet, bright yellow, blaze orange, or white, to only needing these colors from the waist up. The 2007 Hunting & Trapping Guide was printed in advance of the regulation change and therefore lists the requirements incorrectly.

Being the kind of guy who wears both a belt and suspenders, I moseyed over to the Saskatchewan Environment – Fish & Wildlife website, and confirmed the news.

I’m as safety conscious as the next guy, but I’ve always thought Saskatchewan’s requirement of head-to-toe high-visibility colours was a bit extreme. This revision to the dress code is a far cry from Alberta’s lack of any safety colour requirement, but I think it strikes a reasonable balance between the nanny state and complete laissez-faire.